The ninth GOP debate in the 2016 campaign for the presidency was heated and, unfortunately, laden with accusations, lies and miss-statements from every candidate.
Although that makes for great entertainment, it challenges the viability of the debate venue as a basis for basing a voting decision. In the heat of rapid-fire exchanges, the candidates blather fast and loose with important details, which makes fact checking after the debate essential.
One particular exchange between Senator Cruz and Mr Trump prompted Trump to call his opponent “the single biggest liar” for saying Trump “supports federal taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood.”
Trump demanded Cruz prove his accusation in the debate. Their exchange:
Trump: Where did I support”
Cruz: You supported it when we were battling over defunding Planned parenthood. You went on…
Trump: That’s a lot of lies.
Cruz: You said, “Planned Parenthood does wonderful things and we should not defund it.”
Trump: It does do wonderful things but not as it relates to abortion.
Cruz: So I’ll tell you what…
Trump: Excuse me. Excuse me, there are wonderful things having to do with women’s health.
Cruz: You see you and I…
Trump: But not when it comes to abortion.
Trump made his position clear. And it’s consistent with what he said in an interview on August 11, 2015 on CNN. Trump then said, “Well, the biggest problem I have with Planned Parenthood is the abortion situation. It’s like an abortion factory frankly. You can’t have it and it shouldn’t be funding and that should not be funded by the government. I feel strongly about that.”
He continued, “What I would do is look at the individual things that they do and maybe some of the things are good, I know a lot of things are bad. But certainly the abortion aspect of it should not be funded by government.”
The interviewer, Chris Cuomo, asked, “So you would take a look at it before you defund it. That’s what is being asked for right now. Many in your party are doing the opposite. They are saying defund it and then look at it. You’d say look at it first.”
Trump answered, “I would look at the good aspects of it. I would also look as I’m sure they do some things properly and good and good for women. I would look at that. I would look at other aspect also, but we have to take care of women. We have to absolutely take care of women. The abortion aspect of Planned parenthood should not be funded.”
Although Cruz and other Republicans have supported completely cutting federal funding to Planned Parenthood, Trump has specified that abortions performed by Planned Parenthood should not be funded.
Ever the negotiator, Trump uses funding as leverage. In a subsequent interview on Fox News, Trump implied he would withhold funding to Planned Parenthood unless they stopped performing abortions.
“No, I mean a lot of people say it’s an abortion clinic. I’m opposed to that. And I wouldn’t do any funding as long as they are performing abortions,” he said. “And they are performing abortions. So I would be opposed to funding – I would be totally opposed to funding.”
(According to the law, federal funding for abortion is restricted by the Hyde Amendment to only abortion cases involving rape, incest or endangerment to the life of the mother.”)
Do you agree with Trump that Planned Parenthood should be funded if it stops executing abortions or do you agree with others that it should be closed down completely?